3 Lessons for Breakthrough Results from Donald Trump

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Do you want to produce breakthrough results in your business? In your industry? In your life? I’m not talking about incremental results, the “Hey, look, we got a new logo!” kind of results. I’m talking about the game-changers. The quantum leap kind of results that can redefine an industry. If those are the kind of results you want to produce, you might be able to learn a thing or two (or three)…from Donald Trump.

Motivational Speaker Bill Stainton

Okay, first—an obligatory list of disclaimers:

  • I am not endorsing Donald Trump. Not for president. Not for anything. This article is not an endorsement. Just an observation.
  • I get that you may hate (HATE!) Donald Trump. But love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he is (for better or worse) a game-changer in the current political state.
  • I am not saying that any of Donald Trump’s breakthroughs are either good or bad. You can make those judgments yourself. My goal is simply to point out some commonalities between his breakthroughs and the kinds of breakthroughs that you may want to produce.
  • I bumped into Donald Trump once—literally—on the set of the Letterman show. Despite this close, physical contact, I think I can remain impartial.

Now, with the disclaimers out of the way, what can we, as leaders, learn about producing breakthrough results from the King of the Coif himself, Donald Trump?

1. He’s Not Simply Reacting to the Competition

Trump is not looking to the competition for clues as to what he should do, who he should be, or what he should say. Unlike many more mainstream politicians, he’s not basing his behavior on what they do. He’s like a shark swimming through a school of smaller fish: while they are all taking their cues from each other (“Let’s all turn left! Now let’s all turn right!”), he’s just cruising through the same water, but on his own path, not really caring what the smaller fish do. Is he aware of them? Sure. But he doesn’t let them dictate his own actions.

Now let’s look at you and your industry. Is your goal simply to stay one step ahead of the competition? (In which case your business will always be defined by what the competition is doing.) Or is it to focus instead on your target market—your customer—and to serve them in the best way possible, even (especially) if it means doing something the competition never even thought of?

You'll never produce breakthrough results if you're just reacting to the competition. #producingresults #breakthrough Click To Tweet

2. He Comes From a Different World

Donald Trump does not come from the world of politics. He comes from the worlds of business, real estate, and show biz. Because of this, he looks at the world (and his campaign) through a different filter than most of the other candidates. And while Trump’s behavior and personality might seem pretty conventional in the world of, say, professional wrestling, they are breakthroughs in the world of presidential politics. Why are they breakthroughs? Because they literally break the rules. The reason Donald Trump is getting so much press attention, and causing so much angst for the other candidates, is because what he’s doing is “not the way things are done around here.”

It’s the same in your business. True breakthrough results are almost always “not the way things are done around here.” The challenge is that, if you do come from the world of your industry, your natural filter will be “the way things are done around here.” In order to break through that filter, you either need to change your filter (very hard to do), or expose yourself to people who already see the world through a different filter (much, much easier to do). One of the best things that you, as leader, can do to help your team produce breakthrough results is to incorporate into that team someone who comes from an entirely different world, someone who can see your industry through an entirely different filter.

To produce breakthrough results, you must see the world differently. Change your filter! #producingresults #breakthrough Click To Tweet

3. He Doesn’t “Play It Safe”

Donald Trump has said and done some pretty outlandish things during this campaign. Things that have repelled (and repulsed) quite a few people. Things that most politicians would not say and do, because most politicians walk around on eggshells, trying to be as inoffensive as possible (while pretending to be “bold” and “edgy”), lest then offend even one person. In short, they’re trying to appeal to everyone. And when you try to appeal to everyone, you come across as bland. Say what you want about Donald Trump, but he certainly isn’t bland!

So let me ask you a question. Do you equate “bland” with “breakthrough”?

I didn’t think so.

Breakthrough results don’t play it safe. They don’t necessarily appeal to everyone. They break eggshells.

You don't produce breakthrough results by playing it safe. #producingresults #breakthrough Click To Tweet

Look, I’m not saying you should vote for Donald Trump. I’m not saying you should approve of his tactics. I’m not even saying you should like the guy. What I am saying is that, for better or for worse, he’s a game changer. He’s producing breakthrough results. And if you want to produce breakthrough results—in your own business, in your own industry, in your own life—there may be some lessons to be learned from a guy who’s already doing it.

QUESTION: What are some other lessons—good or bad—that leaders can learn from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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